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November 29, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-29

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4A - Monday, November 29, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C ii t ian Bal
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109








Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Closed housing
'U' needs to work quickly to implement initiative
D espite the best efforts of the Michigan Student Assembly
and members of the Open Housing Initiative, gender-neu-
tral housing will most likely not be an option for fall 2011
University housing. The proposal, which was presented to Univer-
sity Housing last Monday, doesn't appear to be a feasible plan for the
fall given the time-frame before housing options become available
to students. This proposal's delay shows a clear breakdown in com-
munication between student organizations and University Housing.
Though this problem may have been avoided if the open housing
proposal was submitted earlier, University Housing needs.to work
with students to employ the new option as soon as possible to ensure
that all students are in a comfortable living environment.






Building safely in China

After several months of discussion,
Director of University Housing Linda
Newman said that she's not optimistic
that open housing will be an option for fall
2011 student housing, according to a Nov.
23 article in the Daily. Newman disclosed
that as of last Tuesday night she had yet
to see the proposal. Open Housing Initia-
tive member Allison Horky noted that the
group sent the proposal to administrators
that day. Newman claimed in the article
that since returning students sign up for
rooming assignments in late January,
there's not enough time to market and set
up the housing option.
The Open Housing Initiative allows stu-
dents to choose open housing and live with
a roommate of the opposite sex. The option
is beneficial since it provides an addition-
al housing choice for students seeking an
alternative rooming assignment. The Open
Housing Initiative aims to give students
the most comfortable living situation pos-
sible. University Housing needs to support
the Open Housing Initiative because it's
important that all students feel at ease in
their living situation.
Student organizations have been push-
ing for open housing for more than one
year. In December 2009, MSA passed a
resolution asking the University to sup-
port the housing option. And when stu-

dents gave their input on the initiative last
March, 67 percent of survey respondents
said they welcomed the option and 38 per-
cent said they would select the option. The
following April, the Residence Halls Asso-
ciation also voted to support open housing.
There is clearly a high amount of student
support for the initiative.
Unfortunately,membersofthe Open Hous-
ing initiative didn't submit their proposal for
open housing in a timely manner for it to be
implemented by fall 2011. Members failed to
consider the necessary timeline for Univer-
sity Housing to adjust to the new option. At
the same time, University Housing should
have been more proactive. Administrators
could have monitored the Open Housing
Initiative's progress and stepped in to help
if they thought the initiative wasn't going to
be finished in time. Had University Housing
been more actively involved in the process,
open housing may have been a viable option
for students next fall.
University Housing should have been
more heavily involved in the Open Hous-
ing Initiative from the beginning. Until
open housing is available, many students
will continue to be uncomfortable in their
living situations. The Open Housing Ini-
tiative and University Housing need to
collaborate more closely to see if they can
after open housing in a timely fashion.

At the.Univers
to seeing a ne
project start
week. In my 21
years of coming
to Ann Arbor, I
can't recall a time
when there wasn't
something being
renovated or built.
Yet the one thing
that I have never
questioned is the
safety of the build-
ings being erected.
I guess we take for
granted the care
that goes into the
design and constructi
ings. Unfortunately,
have the same faith in
China is current
world's fastest gro
According to a Nov.
zinc article, China
nearly 40 percent oft
and concrete consu
certainly needs these
efforts to construct at
square feet of new
ally. But this incred
construction has con
workmanship. Poor
buildings and negI
codes are becomingG
cern in the booming c
Two weeks ago,
the city of Shanghai
ing burned down, ki
and sending anothe
the hospital. The fire
to nylon netting th:
used to prevent cons
ment and debris fri
the street. The flam
was set ablaze by unl
working on the buil
the first example of
ment of regulations l
dents. Last year, a ne'
apartment building

ity we're used tipped over because it was built atop
w construction unstable ground. Recent earthquakes
or finish every have also brought into question the
stability of many buildings in China.
Part of the reason behind the over-
sight of proper safetytechniques comes
fromChina's accelerated effort tomake
buildings sustainable and energy effi-
cient. There has been a recent push to
go green quickly in the booming nation
and that has come at the cost of taking
the proper precautions to make sure
buildings are up to code during and
JOE after construction processes.
With the collapse of faith in Chi-
SUGIYAMA nese buildings, the question looms of
how to fix this problem. The answer
seems simple enough - more strin-
ion of our build- gent enforcement of building codes
China cannot - but this is easier said than done in
sits structures, a country that builds such an incred-
ly one of the ible amount. The magnitude of the
wing countries. situation is all the more reason for
10 Time maga- China to fix its structural problems.
accounts for With more than 1.3 billion people in
the world's steel the country, China mustbe diligent in
.mption. China its efforts to clean up its act and avoid
materials in its risking more lives.
bout 21.5-billion In many countries, civil engineers
property annu- are held responsible for the buildings
ible amount of that they design and construct. A
ne at the cost of collapsed building due to an error in
ly constructed planning on the part of the civil engi-
ected building neer in the United States can result
a cause for con- in a jail sentence. China is among
ountry. those countries that holds engineers
tragedy struck and contractors accountable for their
when a build- buildings, but the prospect of jail
illing 53 people doesn't seemto have muchofaneffect
r 70 people to on the rashness of their construction.
was attributed Contractors must be forced somehow
at was illegally to slow down their construction. The
truction equip- best way to do this may be to have
om falling onto other companies inspect other build-
smable material ings and enforce safety codes.
icensed welders China should have no problem
ding. This isn't forcing construction companies to
dodgy enforce- submit to constant surveillance of
eading too acci- their progress. Such surveillance
wly-constructed would force companies to stop cut-
in Shanghai ting corners and focus on the safety

of their buildings at all stages of
the construction process. Failure
to prioritize safety would result
in the company's time and money
being spent to fix the mistakes later
detected by a third-party inspection
agency. If China doesn't see it fit to
have strict inspectors monitor con-
struction companies, it could turn to
the U.S. for help. Our nation - which
once constructed cities and buildings
at a maddening pace - has insight
that could help the Chinese make
their transition into the future a safe
one. The U.S. also has some of the
best civil engineers in the world who
could aid Chinese construction com-
panies in implementing better build-
ing codes and safer practices.
As construction
soars, China needs
better standards.
Whatever China is going to do
about its current crisis, it needs to
do so quickly. Its leniency in safety
laws is reflected in its recent prob-
lems. Chinese construction contrac-
tors have and will continue to neglect
security measures if no action is
taken. I'm not saying that the con-
tractors have no regard for the lives
of others, but with no guidance or
standards from the Chinese govern-
ment, they are overlooking little risks
- like a safety net made of an incred-
ibly flammable material - in favor of
quick results. If China wants to avoid
further loss of life and embarrass-
ment, the state of its buildings must
be addressed promptly.
- Joe Sugiyama can be reached
at imsugi@umich.edu.


Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be
fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's full name and
University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
The need for jobless benefits

An ode for my Michigan family

My aunt and uncle came for Thanksgiving
this year, as they do every year. We cooked a
turkey, ate some pumpkin pie and watched a
lot of football - like we do every year. And just
like every year, a raucous political debate was
stirred. Appropriately, we ended up debating
what has become another holiday tradition -
the extension of (or possible lack of an exten-
sion of) federal unemployment benefits.
The benefits are set to expire on Nov. 30,
leaving 168,520 workers in Michigan without
this aid. The expiration date also leaves Con-
gress only two days to take quick and decisive
action when it gets back from recess to extend
the benefits.
The debate my aunt and I had reflects a larg-
er national debate. Republicans, like my aunt,
say that the extension of unemployment ben-
efits - which would cost only about $60 billion
for one year - are a continuation of the out-
of-control spending and deficit ignorance that
characterizes the Obama administration. I find
this kind of ironic, since she and almost every
other Republican support extending the Bush
tax cuts for the wealthiest of citizens - a policy
that would add an astounding $700 billion to
the deficit over the next 10 years.
This stance not only seems quite contradic-
tory for any "deficit hawk," but there also isn't
any proof that the Bush tax cuts would help the
economy. Jobless workers who receive aid will
- out of necessity for the basics - spend this
money, and put it back into the economy. On
the other hand, wealthy citizens who reap gen-
erously from the Bush tax cuts will end up sav-
ing the extra money thatthey would have spent
on taxes because there is no immediate need to

spend, which inevitably worsens the economy.
But what frustrates me more than Repub-
licans ignoring the economic arguments in
this debate is when they resort to the incred-
ibly trite behavioral arguments. These con-
descending remarks consist of knocking the
unemployed as lazy, whiny and dependent on
government aid - as if these so-called gener-
ous benefits were more than just a means to
subsist. It's absurd to think that the meager
amount given to the unemployed could possi-
bly dissuade someone from looking for or even
accepting a job. It's a fact that there is a scar-
city of employment - especially in Michigan
where the jobless rate is the second highest
in the country. People who believe the image
perpetuated by conservatives - that the unem-
ployed live a luxurious life of free riding - are
blatantly and naively ignorant of the reality of
poverty and joblessness.
It seems as though America is in desper-
ate need of rethinking its priorities. While
many Americans are struggling and so many
are out of work, why are we, as a nation, even
bothering to think about keeping the Bush tax
cuts? Why are we even debating extending the
unemployment benefits? Both legislators and
voters alike need to realize that valuing and
privileging the wealthy over the unemployed
will eventually cause economic collapse. There
is no reasonable economic or moral argument
for not extending the unemployment ben-
efits. Congress needs to act immediately after
returning from recess to keep extending aid for
the unemployed.
Will Butler is an assistant editorial page editor.

Editor's Note: This column is the second
part of a two-part series in which the
columnist reflects upon his experiences
at the University.
The window that, until recent-
ly, was supplying a nice, cool
breeze is now turning into
a source of brain
freeze - as the sun I
begins to sink and
turn the outdoors
a dark orange, the '
temperature is
dropping rapidly.
As dusk emerges, I 3
close the window '
and turn on the
lights. TOMMASO
It seems impos-
sible to do justice
to the task at hand,_
recalling the happi-
est memories from the happiest time
of my life - my years as a Wolverine.
Recalling the sad memories is easy
because they are few and far apart. But
by what criterion am I to distinguish
amongst the golden moments that col-
lectively make up the past three and a
half years?
As I begin to rewind the tape, I
realize that what has made the dif-
ference is the positive impact from all
the friendships I've made while at the
Breaking out of the shell
During my sophomore year, I real-
ized the extent to which living in Baits
II housing the previous year - as a non-
engineering student - had deprived
me of the college experience. I never
attended a football game, I never went
to parties, I hadn't consumed a drop of
alcohol and I spent most of my Friday
nights writing essays.
The transition started with John
Hurlahe, a charismatic kid from Fran-
kenmuth, Mich., - a town I was only
aware of thanks to Bronner's Christ-
mas Wonderland, the world's largest

Christmas store. We had begun study-
ing together for our economics classes,
and it seemed that by October, there
wasn't a day that went by where Ididn't
see John for lunch or dinner.
And soon it wasn't just John, it was
also Ryan Kartje, John's neighbor,
hailing from the little town of Milan,
Mich. Itwas Alex O'Dell, John's room-
mate, whose mind was in a constant
state of creative stream of conscious-
ness. It was Orfeh Vahabzadeh, Alex's
girlfriend, simultaneously brilliant
and hilarious. It was the entire Fran-
kenmuth gang, alongwith alight sprin-
kling of natives from my hometown of
Troy who had also been engulfed by
the group's magnetism.
By December, I had attended sev-
eral concerts. I made the horrible
choice of going to one while wear-
ing a ridiculous turtle-neck - shoot
me now and forgive me later. I also
had my first drink. "Yup, I can defi-
nitely feel it?" I exclaimed in all my
pathetic "lightweightness" after sev-
eral sips of a Mike's Hard Lemonade.
I finally bought football season tickets
and expanded my social circle at an
unprecedented rate.
They say that you don't realize what
you have until it's no longer there. But
my sophomore year was the exact
opposite - I didn't realize what I had
missed until good ol' John and his
gang danced their way into my life,
addingcolor wherever black and white
had been the rule.
Branching out
By junior year two new social
spheres emerged: my fellow incoming
classmates at the Ford School of Public
Policy, and my resident advisors, com-
munity assistants and ResStaff col-
leagues in Stockwell Hall.
The Ford School crew - a driven
community of scholars who will be
doing great things in high places while
I will likely still be finishing my dis-
sertation - provided constant intel-
lectual stimuli. Mv Stockwell friends

- a group of socially aware and ser-
vice-minded individuals who'll offer
you support when you most need it -
challenged me to embrace social jus-
tice and to challenge the status quo.
And so it was that by the time my
junior year was over, I felt like I had
changed more in three years than I
had over my entire lifetime prior to
coming to the University.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't
mention the great relationships I've
had with my professors. I was lucky
enough to get to know some brilliant
scholars who cared deeply about their
students and their individual interests.
I attended conferences with them,
chatted with them about life over cof-
fee and received invaluable advice
from them regarding graduate school.
It goes without saying that it's because
I respectmy professors thatI'm pursu-
ing a career path in academia.
What has made
my Michigan
The final statement
Despite my decision to attend the
University because of its academic
prestige, my Michigan years have
been defined by positive relationships.
The friends I've made here have been
an unwavering source of support and
have constantly challenged me to
become abetter person.
To my Michigan family, thank you
for shining happiness into my life. I
hope, in my own way, that I have held
up a mirror and reflected some of it
- Tommaso Pavone can be
reached at tpavone@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin,
Roger Sauerhaft, Asa Smith, Julian Toles, Laura Veith, Andrew Weiner

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